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14. The boy and the girl

Candis Cox and her husband Adam live in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is their love story.

How did I find them? I’m glad you asked. I told my friend Wendy I was looking for a couple to profile. She said, “Hang tight. I have the perfect couple for you.” 15 minutes later, Wendy calls back and tells me to call Candis Cox.

It was the most awkward conversation. I called her and said, “Hello, my friend Wendy said you and your husband are madly in love. Do tell.” She was like, “Okay?”

Candis Cox trans woman and her husband Adam

Candis Cox and her husband Adam

Their story is unremarkable in many ways. They met at a bar, went on a date, and eventually married after years of dating. What makes this story special is listening to them retell it. Love is a hard thing to define. It’s not a particular moment in time. It’s a collection of memories weaved into one story.

 But love doesn’t come without sacrifice. We’ve all been there. It’s overcoming these challenges that make a great love story.



If you haven’t listened to the episode, I would stop reading here.


They say the best way to get to know someone is to breaking bread with them. We don’t have to agree with who they are or what they do—We just have to understand them.


You see, the goal of this episode is for you to connect with Candis and Adam in the most human of ways. For the first 10 minutes of the show, I won’t not tell you what they do for a living, who they voted for, or what they believe in. All we know is that they’re crazy about each other.


It’s just love. And if we can understand that, then we’ll be more open to understanding the next part of the story.


Candis Cox is transgender. She underwent her transformation after college. When her and Adam met, he had no clue what he was getting himself into. In fact, she broke the news on their first date. Completely unphased by this revelation, Adam asked her to go out on another date. Eventually he asked her to marry him. More than 10 years later, they say their love has matured. When he met her she was a restaurant manager. Today, she’s a leader in the LGBTQ+ community in Raleigh, NC. Candis Cox was a pivotal leader in the fight against North Carolina’s bathroom bill HB2.

Candis Cox - LGBTQ Before Transition

Candis Cox – Before Transition

You may be asking yourself, what does this story have to do with Pretend Radio? Where’s the pretend angle?

Well, after listening to my friend Alex Hopkins speak about his transition from female to male, it got me thinking. What is it like for a child trying to reconcile with his or her gender identity? I was trying to imagine the struggle of masking out their true identity in order to fit in. But when I met Candis, she was insulted at the premise of my story. She never felt like she was pretending. In fact, she almost walked away from the interview. I assured her that I meant no disrespect. I was just trying to bring attention to the community. After we shared a  pizza pie and washed it down with a few beers, we realized, this is not a pretend story at all. This is a story about being your true self, even when the world is making you pretend to be someone else.


The boy and the girl was written and produced by Javier Leiva and Wendy Gatlin.

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